I met with a friend the other day. A friend whose path has some similarities to my own. No we aren’t the same human being and no our paths aren’t parallel. But we both share this incredibly unique part of our path that is life changing, bonding and difficult. My own a bit more progressed due to time than hers and as I sat talking of the last few years and the losses and gains I realized my path is strange. It isn’t at all where I thought I would be. The things that matter deeply strike me. The things that matter less seemed so important before. It is all so strange and not where I expected to be, but exactly where I am meant to be and grateful to be.
Some of what I currently feel is grief. Grief for what I once was. I think that that is what all the fitness was about. It was grieving that I can’t go back and I can’t change myself to who I once was and what that has meant for my life. It has meant I intentionally and unintentionally said goodbye to people, places and things that hurt. The grief is because I thought I could control it. I thought I could change who I was and still be me.
God or my faith….I realized doesn’t work like that. I can’t shift my body, my heart and my soul into being who others want me to be. I can’t pretend or unsee the past didn’t happen and for so very long I believed I could. If I pushed it down deep and far enough I couldn’t acknowledge its existence.
Part of my faith and belief system forces me to be front and center to my own life and part of that is being true to who I am meant to be. It isn’t being told who I am or am not and isn’t letting the world decide that for me. I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that is unsettling and ugly when I don’t live life this way. It makes me complicated. I have spent years feeling bad for that. I have spent years having others make me feel like it was a weakness or flaw. But I have come to realize it is just me. If you love me….you love all of me even that part.
I won’t bend or break for others. I won’t purposefully put myself, my family or my life on an inauthentic path to ensure the safety and comfort of others. That is a bold statement, but that to me is my faith and my strength. This life is temporary. I know this. This feeling is temporary. My faith and strength has no bounds.
Even just typing this out feels scary because it means people I love will read these words. That is a vulnerability I am scared to carry. But I have learned our most vulnerable moments are when we grow the most. It is when we see who loves us truly and that we love ourselves enough to witness the aftermath. There is beauty in that. There is a tremendous amount of faith in that.
Yesterday I was driving and I witnessed this incredible moment here in my tiny town. I have no context for what I saw. There was a mechanic’s shop where you get new tires or the basic oil change. I saw an adult male with tears in his eyes hugging a teenage boy who also had tears in his eyes. As I was driving passed I witnessed the initial embrace. Suddenly my world became silent and I felt included in this very vulnerable moment.
As I drove passed I believe the embrace would be short and we would all move on especially given that they are in the middle of a parking lot where thousands could witness this. But it didn’t end. The moment was so powerful I pulled over. I was awe struck at their ability to be so careless of the world around them and they were both so present for one another.
And you wonder why I tell you this story and I will tell you why. This is how my faith works. I have struggled the last few days feeling extremely vulnerable. You know sending a text when you may not get one back, or being there for a friend who in turn may not/ or has not been there for you or recognizing that though a relationship has changed it is still so important to you even though that makes you the vulnerable one. Or telling someone you love enough is enough. I love you, but I am going to love you from over here. My gut has been telling me I am dumb to put myself out there like that and chastising myself for allowing myself to be in harms way.
But something in my heart was speaking differently and telling me that being vulnerable to the world is okay. It brings peace and comfort and isn’t that what we all want even if it is sometimes scary? So that is how my faith works when my gut and heart fight God gives me signs. This embrace of this sweet and scared moment between these two gentleman reminded me that the cost of dealing in vulnerabilities is exceptionally high, but the cost of not engaging them is even higher.
So today (and always) I have faith and I walk strong on this strange path and I will grieve for what used to be and be grateful for what is and my strength to be fearfully vulnerable.
If you read this straight through my dear readers…I thank you. – MR